Friday, February 1, 2013
Super Bowl XLVII Predictions
Since predicting the outcome of one game would make for an awfully short blog post, I want to spend a bit of time reflecting on the paths that these two teams have taken this season in their run to the Super Bowl. First up is the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens in recent years have been a fairly consistent playoff team as they have made the playoffs in 9 of their last 13 seasons and are currently on a 5 year run of making the playoffs. That most recent run has been propelled by quarterback Joe Flacco, who is often overlooked when we talk about the league's great quarterbacks. The man has not only made the playoffs in every one of his five NFL seasons, but he has won at least one playoff game in all five of those years. He currently has an 8-4 record in the playoffs, which is great for any quarterback, but especially for a quarterback who is only in his fifth year. This season, however, they went through quite the scare. They started at 9-2, but sputtered to a 1-4 record the rest of the way, landing them at 10-6. Their struggles late season led many to write them off and most people assumed that the Broncos and the Patriots were the only two teams that had a chance in a weak AFC. Heading into their first game, future hall of famer Ray Lewis announced that this was his final run. Shortly after that announcement came the emotional win over the Indianapolis Colts, giving Lewis another shot. Following that came the remarkable run by the Ravens. Like I mentioned, most everyone, myself included, thought that this year would be a battle between Broncos and Patriots. The Ravens not only spoiled that, but they sent both teams home in consecutive weeks. The Broncos game took double overtime to finalize and many can look at that game and say that the game was decided by a bunch of Bronco mistakes rather than game changing Raven plays. The Patriots game can't be argued that way, though, as the Ravens pulled off one of the more impressive Patriot beatdowns of late. The team hadn't been shutout in a half in quite some time. The Ravens entry to the Super Bowl is thus no fluke at all. It is well deserved.
Next up is the San Francisco 49ers. I have actually given the 49ers a lot of flack this season and thus Niners fans that have followed me recently may be surprised to know that the Niners were my preseason pick to be the NFC's representative in the Super Bowl (evidence here). Since then I mistakenly took them out of my Super Bowl predictions based on their horribly inconsistent season. Now what you say? I'm calling a team that won 11 games horribly inconsistent? Yep, I am. Did you know that the 49ers didn't even win three straight games this year during the regular season? They also didn't lose two straight games either, but still. And it wasn't that they had two good wins followed by a tough loss. They'd win two games in a row in a fantastic, elite way, making me look smart for originally picking them. But then in their next game they would completely disappear and play like they were heading for the top 10 in the draft next year. Jim Harbaugh also showed that he has a non-traditionalist attitude in his unclassy handling of his quarterback situation. Alex Smith was having a probowl type season before he was sidelined for a game with a concussion. Colin Kaepernick took over and played well, so Harbaugh kept him in and thus benched Alex Smith. Smith did nothing wrong. He didn't deserve to get benched. But that is what happened. Did it work out? Sure. Kaepernick has played lights out in the playoffs. But Alex Smith still didn't deserve to get benched. Now the CK has done great in the playoffs, if I'm Alex Smith I want nothing to do with the Niners next season, so the Niners better hope that CK doesn't follow the typical running quarterback trend by becoming injury-prone. But despite the inconsistencies and the quarterback shuffle, the 49ers snuck away with a first round bye and followed that by a pounding of the Packers and a comeback win over the Falcons, who have proven time and again that they don't know how to play in the second half of games. So in a very crazy NFC battle this year, the 49ers have come out on top.
Without further ado, lets actually talk about what you came here to read. Who is going to win the Super Bowl? Will it be the commercials. Possibly. Although I remember a time when the commercials were funnier. Will it be Beyonce performing at half time? Certainly not. And on that note real quick, I don't know who has been in charge of picking the Super Bowl half-time performers, but that person needs to get fired. Those two things aside, I am certain that a football team, either the Ravens or Niners, will win this game. But it is a tough one to pick. Both teams have fantastic defenses. Both teams have offenses that have been off and on this season, but have been playing lights out during the playoffs. The two head coaches definitely must be brothers. The Harbaugh Bowl is going to be an intensely close match-up that I think might go down to a game winning field goal. In picking the team that will win by that field goal, I am going to have to ride the Ray Lewis wave here. Ever since he announced his retirement, his team has been playing as if they are playing for him to get him one last championship ring. CK and the Niners will have their shot in the future, but I think this year belongs to the Ravens. Now you may point to the fact that the 49ers have never lost a Super Bowl and that is true. However, the Ravens technically haven't lost either (they are one for one) and to anyone who points to trends like that, I will remind them that this is a different Niners team. Even though past Niners teams have gone unbeaten, this Niners team is setting their own legacy separate from the old team. And there is a first for everything, Super Bowl losses included.
Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 34 - San Francisco 49ers 31